Studentship: Immune responses to attenuated peste des petits ruminants virus vaccines and correlates of protection

Lead Research Organisation: The Pirbright Institute
Department Name: UNLISTED


Peste des petits ruminants (PPR) is a severe viral disease of goats and sheep. The PPR virus (PPRV) is widespread in Africa, the Middle East and Asia, killing thousands of animals per year, and more countries suffer from the disease all the time. It has a particularly severe impact on poor livestock keepers who depend on goats and sheep for their livelihoods. There is a growing move towards a global control effort against PPR. Any control programme will depend on vaccination, which will use one of the available attenuated PPRV vaccines. While these are known to be effective, we know little about the actual nature of the protective immune response, nor whether all the existing vaccines can protect against all strains of PPRV from anywhere in the world.
This project intends to try to answer these questions. The knowledge acquired will also be of use to those working on PPRV vaccine production and those involved in setting up control programmes for PPR. In this project, we will measure the production of PPRV-specific antibodies elicited by the most common PPRV vaccines used (one from Africa and one from India), as well as the priming of PPRV-specific immune cells (T cells). We will confirm that the vaccines can protect against PPRV from each of the known genetic lineages of the virus by exposing vaccinated animals to these viruses. We will use various amounts of PPRV vaccine to determine the minimum effective dose that protects the animals from disease following infection with a pathogenic strain of PPRV, and determine whether it is the antibody response, the T cell response, or both together that protects. This knowledge will enable future tests of vaccine efficacy to focus on measuring the immune response, thereby avoiding testing vaccine batches by exposing animals to pathogenic virus. In addition to the general usefulness of the data acquired in the project, the student will acquire a thorough grounding in livestock immunology and virology.
Description We have established the broad applicability of two different peste des petits ruminants virus (PPRV) vaccine strains. Both of the commercially available PPRV vaccines conferred clinical protection to goats following challenge with wild-type viruses from all 4 different lineages. The work published in Journal of Virology will greatly enhance consumer confidence in using these vaccines even in areas where PPRV strains from different lineages circulate.
Exploitation Route PPRV causes a severe disease of sheep and goats, and has been targeted for control and eradication by the World Organistation for Animal Health (OIE). Vaccination is the cornerstone of the eradication campaign which will specifically benefit subsistence farmers in developing countries. Our results on the specific efficiency of available PPRV vaccines will facilitate vaccine supply and better regional vaccine uptake.

Eradication of this economically important virus of small ruminants would also prevent further global expansion of PPRVs' distribution and remove the threat of incursion into Europe.
Sectors Agriculture, Food and Drink

Description The outcome of this project will improve disease control for the sheep/goat disease peste des petits ruminants (PPR) and greatly benefit the global eradication campaign, with consequential impact on low-income livestock keepers in the developing world Reduction and ultimate eradication of PPRV would greatly enhance the economic and societal prosperity of subsistence farmers in low-and-middle income countries
First Year Of Impact 2017
Sector Agriculture, Food and Drink
Impact Types Societal,Economic

Description Collaborative studentship PPRV 
Organisation University of Surrey
Department School of Veterinary Medicine
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Practical laboratory work and in vivo animal studies carried out
Collaborator Contribution Intellectual input in scientific remit of studentship, training of student, use of facilities and lab
Impact DOI: 10.1128/JVI.01471-18 Thesis: The immune response to live, attenuated peste des petits ruminants virus vaccines
Start Year 2014